Could this be a small step towards the gradual unification of the different messaging platforms of Facebook?
On December 26, Facebook r quietlyremoved the ability for people to sign up for a Email account without an active Facebook profile.
A Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat that:
“If you’re new to Messenger, you’ll notice that you need a Facebook account to chat with friends and close relationships. We’ve found that the vast majority of people who use Messenger already log in through Facebook and we want to make it easier the process.
Facebook first introduced the option to sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account in 2015, with the main purpose being to allow people in areas where Facebook may not be as easily accessible – whether due to network limitations or government regulations – to continue using its dedicated messaging app.
Obviously, this hasn’t been a widely used option – and as Facebook notes, given that most Messenger users also have a Facebook account logged in, the impact of the change won’t be significant.
But why remove it? Why would Facebook seek to remove a hotspot that could allow them to reach more users?
As noted, it’s likely that the change is actually part of The Social Network’s broader transition to an integrated messaging system, which will eventually allow users to communicate between Instagram, Messenger and/or WhatsApp. This could bring significant benefits to Facebook, which has seen a significant increase in messaging activity – indeed, in March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:
“Private messaging, short stories and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication.”
An interconnected messaging system could help Facebook maximize its opportunities in this regard – while some have also suggested that merging its back-end systems in this way could also make Facebook more difficult to break up, if regulatory groups manage to the conclusion that the company should be separated for reasons of competition in the industry.
If it’s one big network, with messaging a key part of its offering, then Facebook could argue that such a breakup wouldn’t be possible, forcing regulators to consider another path.
Removing the option to sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account is a small step in this regard, but it does further solidify and merge Facebook’s various tools. By removing it as an option, Facebook is ticking another box in the broader shift toward messaging unification.